August is for autumn

Next week is the PGA golf tournament in Charlotte North Carolina. Massive crowds are expected

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32 Responses to August is for autumn

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    Personal update. I’m back in the hospital. My routine low risk procedure didn’t work as planned. The semi-emergency backup plan failed. Open surgery is looking extremely likely.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Back home. Thank God for Obamacare.

      • TheChairman says:

        Fate and destiny often travel together but arrive separately. You encountered fate, Countess was your destiny. Get out there and make the most of your time together. Maybe post your travels via the blog. SRG has been my online ‘safe harbor’ for many years. You’re in our thoughts and prayers. Godspeed to both of you.

      • Fred Stiening says:

        My comment wasn’t as sarcastic as it might have sounded. While the Blue Cross plan was essentially the only choice, I’ve met the yearly maximum out of pocket limit, so decisions will be made based on the medical priorities, not financial worries.

        This year was the year we decided to assess my health, acknowledging the possibility that Republicans might try to return individual health insurance based on risk underwriting. Chaos in the insurance and medical care business could affect me very personally. My issue is not the premiums as much as the ability to buy coverage and being protected from cost shifting. I hold out hope for the 50+ Medicare buyin for early retirees. Clearly Republicans have failed – a majority of Republicans now want the Senate to quit the Repeal of Obamacare.

        • TheChairman says:

          Actually, I knew you were being quite literal. Except my view is the RINO establishment monkey-wrenched the repeal and replace agenda, and continues to obstruct. As I pointed out to my wife, if this were the Democrats, they would be in lock-step (else one ‘ends it’ in Marcy Park). Please forgive my absence and drive-by posts, as I’ve been preoccupied with my elderly dad (79) who has Alzheimer’s… in his case, we will apply for Medicaid for his long term care, as nothing else will cover the cost.

  2. countess robini says:

    dear friends: please pray for us.

  3. briand75 says:

    Dear Lord – We believe that Fred will heal and recover and will be better than ever. We believe that he will be with Countess in health for many years to come. We thank you, Lord for your abundance of energy and provision of power to heal Fred in this time of need. Please hold Fred gently in the palm of your hand. Amen.

  4. Fred Stiening says:

    Thank you for being there and caring…

    So far, the doctor thinks we will be okay to travel to New York (state) for a honeymoon of sorts. That is contingent on a successful outcome on Tuesday.

    For those who know about the guy on YouTube, we decided to order a his and hers Crazy Russian Hacker and Boom! T-shirt, but we won’t have them in time for our trip.

    • TheChairman says:

      Our thoughts will be with you tomorrow Fred, we’ll be awaiting good news.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Well, things didn’t work out as planned. After flying to Buffalo, spending one night at Chautauqua, we decided to return home ASAP and arrived home about 10 PM last night. American Airlines was especially helpful with rebooking us and helping me through the airports. There is not a health issue involved, but it began to sink in how vulnerable we were if there was

      • TheChairman says:

        Sorry… I didn’t think you were heading up to NY until September.

      • countess robini says:

        indeed, american airlines did well by us. sent employees to help us at every step of the way. much assistance in both the charlotte and buffalo airports, plus early boarding to make things easier for fred. they also waived the $200 per person rebooking fee when we explained we had to get home quickly.

        kudos, too, to giorgio’s limo service in new york. after an early (very early) morning call, they moved up our return trip date and got us on a shuttle from chautauqua to the buffalo airport in time for the flight home.

        • TheChairman says:

          Hopefully you can return to enjoy the area at a later date, after you’ve had time to recuperate, recharge, and relax. Were you planning to see Niagra Falls during your stay?

          • countess robini says:

            dear chairman: love the alliteration! we’re doing all the “r” stuff right now.

            yes, we had planned initially to go to niagara falls (anybody else remember the movie with marilyn monroe?) after chautauqua. goal was to meet up with my beautiful-and-talented sister and salt-of-the-earth brother-in-law so they could spend some time with fred. but we nixed it a few weeks ago when things started getting dicey.

  5. Fred Stiening says:

    The PGA championship is one of the four major golf events, but confusingly is put on by the PGA, but not organized by the separate PGA Tour™. The PGA Championship is open to the pros that work in golf courses as well as the pro tour members and past winners of major events.

    Monday and Tuesday are just practice rounds and VIPs schmoozing with the golfers. While our uber drivers have had some PGA related business, it won’t get intense until the weekend.

  6. Fred Stiening says:

    Homicide #57 of 2017

    Virtually all involved a black person – either as the dead person or the killer

  7. Parrott says:

    Hey Countess,, Hope all is well, I have a question ( s) for you
    Have you been to ‘Bala Cynwyd’ ? ( of course you have)
    Do you pronounce it like it is sort of spelled ? Wonder who named it ?
    Doesn’t sound quaker.
    I get to go with my wife to a conference in Philadelphia. Its at the convention center downtown, but we get to stay at the Marriott down there. Its an ok area ?
    Says the hotel is a mile from the train station. Were taking the train up from Lynchburg VA. ( really starting to like this riding train bit Fred) did the autotrain in March to FLA, Train to DC two weeks ago, now all the way to Philadelphia ( Business class) . Uh Huh, yeah Thats what I am talking about.
    Is it ok to walk or should we take that trolly or Uber ? which do you recommend ?
    I have never been to Philadelphia, but I do want to go see the Rocky statue : )
    I am getting a Philly cheese-steak sandwich. ( I am going to break my vegetarian-ism and pray for forgiveness afterwards.)
    They have a lot of Mini coopers in Bala-Cynwyd. Might be time for new car. Sold the QX56 last year, the Lexus is 11 years old, but still fast. so we may go by and look, while there.
    Any advice I sure would appreciate it,

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      Get there as quickly as you can, Mr Parrott. The tolerant anti-fascists are toppling statues faster than the Taliban ever did.

      “Don’t let this letter dishearten anybody and never take no cutoffs and hurry along as fast as you can.” – 14 year old Virginia Reed in 1847

      BTW (and speaking of Virginia), The best Philly Cheese steaks are near you at The Hub in Rocky Mount, VA.

    • countess robini says:

      dear parrott: what fun! you and your wife get to go to philly!

      here’s the deal:
      bala cynwyd is prounounced bow-lah kin-wood. (that’s bow, like you’d do on stage.) it’s welsh.

      bala cynwyd is on the famous main line of philly. where philly ends, bala cynwyd begins. (dividing line is a big street called city avenue.)

      very wealthy area — lots of old philly money, and new as well. many tall office buildings since lots of businesses wanted to get out of the city to avoid paying the outrageous taxes and putting up with the typical big-city nonsense. employees are usually happy with the move because they escape paying the ridiculous city wage tax. (many of the tv and radio stations moved to bala over the years for these reasons.) it’s a safe, low-crime area.

      30th street station, where you’ll get off the train, will be fascinating to you because you’re a train lover. lots of trains, lots of tracks. to an ordinary person like me, it’s a big and noisy place with a crazy traffic pattern and lousy parking. but there is a gorgeous sculpture inside the station called “winged victory” that’s a joy to behold. (and despite witness, the harrison ford movie, not many guys get bumped off in the men’s room.)

      there are all sorts of ways different train routes connect around philly and one of the places of connection is at 30th street station. but i’m dreadful at logistics. i’d think uber would work great to get you from the station to the hotel in bala cynwyd.

      when the convention center was built, they managed to save the reading terminal market, which is right next door. it’s a philly institution and a real working market, not some gussied-up tourist thing. regular people shop there for food and other necessities. the amish come in from lancaster county and sell produce, meat, baked goods and other items. there are also restaurants right inside the market — not frou-frou or trendy but good. very convenient for you since you’ll be at the convention center.

      the rocky statue is now back at the base of art museum steps. its was there initially (after the movie made the steps famous) but then the culture vultures kicked up a fuss saying it was junk art for the masses. (which it is.) so they moved it down to south philly, near the sports stadiums. then the city realized that was a mistake so now it’s back at the museum. kinda off in a little area near the steps but it IS there. and great fun to see.

      btw, the art museum really is one of the great museums of the world. it’s huge and exhausting but magnificent.

      another museum if you have time: the university museum (of the university of pennsylvania) is in west philly and absolutely first-class, especially for egyptology. penn got in early on the egyptian stuff (many digs) and it shows. big but not overwhelming.

      if time is short for sightseeing and you want to stay in center city, you can just walk around old city and see things like independence hall and the liberty bell. yeah, it’s touristy but it never failed: driving past independence hall at night coming hone from some press event, i’d think, “this is where they INVENTED america.” and then i’d think, “Yay for us.”

      sadly, the house where thomas jefferson wrote the declaration of independence is long gone — replaced by the strawbridge and clothier department store building, which was a philadelphia institution and is likewise gone. but the strawbridge building is still there and i remember a plaque on the exterior marking the spot where tom wrote that remarkable piece of prose so important in the history of the western world. you can stand there and reflect. (it’s around 8th and market streets.)

      on the cheesesteak thing: there’s a place down on south street (yes, the same place as in the song — where all the hippies meet) called jim’s steaks. it’s around third and south street. bright, busy place — nothing fancy. people love it. but if you go to south street for this or other dining/shopping — GO EARLY AND GET OUT BEFORE NIGHT FALLS. there have been ongoing problems on south street with teenagers — rich white kids from the burbs who come to south street to get drunk/high and behave badly. also poor black kids who walk over from the projects to do the same. south street is groovey during the day BUT NOT AT NIGHT.

      you can still get good italian food in south philly (especially around the italian market area, which was also featured in the rocky movie) but the neighborhood has changed much — now you will also find lots of good vietnamese restaurants. (be careful. in the old days, south philly was safe and you always felt welcome there. you could relax. now it’s different.)

      best bet for scoping out restaurants to try: philadelphia magazine and craig laban’s stories in the philadelphia inquirer. (he’s the restaurant reviewer and food writer — been doing it since the ancient israelites were inventing new ways to enjoy manna. like forever.) web site for the inquirer is

      give me a bit of time and i’ll post some ideas for things mrs. parrott might like to do while you’re off conventioneering.

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Excellent write up, Countess. It prompted me to remember a couple additional items for Mr and Mrs Parrott to consider:

        For breakfast, consider trying scrapple, you can’t find it outside Philadelphia and it is probably available everywhere, including the Reading Terminal. On day two, instead get a “pork roll” breakfast sandwich. They are most popular across the river in Jersey, but people in Philly eat them too. They are both meat products, so you may wish to wash them down with a Frank’s soda, but buy it in Bala Cynwyd rather than Philadelphia due to the new Philadelphia soft drink tax. (BTW, just north of Bala Cynwyd is a town called “North Wales”.)

        A good snack would be any of the Tastykakes, or a Philly soft pretzel with the mandatory mustard topping.

        And now for the important stuff- You will have to hear Chris Plante on the web as no Philly station carries his show. I noticed he calls Ditch Mitch with the nickname “The Turtle”. lol The good news is that will be close enough to the Comcast HQ to throw a stink bomb at the people that own MSNBC. 😉

        Enjoy your trip!

    • countess robini says:

      dear mrs. parrott: here are some suggestions for you.

      both the museums i mentioned would be fun, even if you have to go alone .

      the art museum is right in center city philadelphia. sits up high on a hill at the end of the benjamin franklin parkway, a euro-style boulevard that’s lovely. it’s a safe area. i went with friends for an afternoon at the art museum a few years ago and the museum restaurant was excellent. gift shop very large and has beautiful, museum-gift-shop-type things. museum is closed mondays, i think.

      the university museum is smaller and funkier. if archaeology is your thing, it’s a treasure trove. it used to have a decent restaurant right in the museum. the museum shop is smallish but with lots of unusual items from around the world. the museum is on the campus of the university of pennsylvania in west philly. safe area with lots of people around during the day. just don’t wander off the penn campus. west philly is a tough neighborhood.

      there are two other museums right on ben franklin parkway you might be interested in visiting. the rodin museum is world-famous and way smaller than the art museum and the university museum. it’s in an intimate setting and is a low-key place. tickets are a bargain — around $8, i think.

      about a block away from the rodin museum, still right on the parkway, is the barnes museum. it’s new (opened maybe seven or eight years ago.) building is ugly but the barnes foundation art collection is inside. there was a big fight about moving the stuff from its location in merion (just outside the city) into a new building on the parkway. i could see the way the battle was going years ago so i went to see the collection in its original setting, which dr. barnes had designed and built. it was a magical place, quiet and elegant and tucked away in a lush suburban locale. now, the fabulous collection of impressionist paintings and other items (very quirky) that dr. barnes collected are still available for viewing, just in a very different — very urban — place. there’s a restaurant in the new location and (i think) an outdoor dining area.

      by the way, if gardening is one of your interests, the property where the barnes collection was housed for decades is still open to the public as an arboretum. it’s in merion, which is very close to bala cynwyd. merion is a safe, upscale town.

      another gardening attraction is bartram’s garden in philadelphia. they do clever, innovation exhibitions. free admission. ok area but you wouldn’t want to go exploring the neighborhood on foot.

      if you just want to have some quiet time for yourself, there’s no better choice than the rittenhouse square area of center city. rittenhouse square itself is a gem of a city park, not too big, not too small. big old trees, sculptures, lots of room to stroll or sit down and people-watch. very safe ; much foot traffic day and early evening. rittenhouse square is rimmed by very expensive high-rise residential buildings and plenty of boutique-y shops and restaurants on the street level. i was there last summer to check out the rittenhouse square farmer’s market (which was sort of small and disappointing) but had lunch in a great place: parc, a french cafe which sits right on the corner of rittenhouse square. it’s stunning inside, with exquisite detailing and furnishings. i had quiche with a mixed greens side salad and it was delicious. (it was a beautiful day so they had opened the huge sliding windows that face out onto the street. i was able to chat with some diners seated at the outdoor tables — it was glorious!) friendly, efficient service. a little pricey but truly memorable.

      i hope your time in philly will be one of the most enjoyable trips you and parrott have ever had.


      p.s.: if you want to visit south street, my admonition in the first post stands: please go during the day. there are interesting little storefront shops and many neat restaurants (south street souvlaki was one of my favorites — it’s been there for decades.) south street can make for a fun afternoon. but don’t tarry into evening.

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